by Missy Johnston
I became keenly aware of Her just over a year ago. As a grown woman, nearing the end of what was nearly a decade of young motherhood, it was as if She suddenly arrived into my consciousness. Five children in eight freaking years can do that to you.
It was at that time, fearful that my purpose and value in life had run dry, that I found myself searching for Her diligently.
I needed to find Her, so I could find myself.
You see, I figured Her value and purposes were mine as well. Her divinity was mine. We shared pieces of the Feminine Divine, a subject I have felt physically connected to, but spiritually unaware of. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
I googled all the things.
I read all the things.
I asked all the things to my poor regulary-talked-out husband.
I asked a few things to my bishopric.
I felt hope when I read articles from BYU with church leader’s quotes, most from long before I was even born.
I felt despair when I was reminded that these quotes were not canonized scripture.
I went to the temple.
I left with no new information other than a reminder my Savior loved me in a deep and powerful way.
Something is there. Someone is there. It’s so close, so familiar, yet I cannot yet put my human finger on it.
I’ve wondered why it took so long for me to think of Her, to seek Her. Why do we not know more? Why do we not sing Her name at church and revere Her status in scripture? The questions have been marinating for years, eagerly waiting to be served on tortillas with shredded cheese to anyone willing to listen.
One Saturday evening, I decided to dedicate my twenty-four hour fast to knowing how better to connect and acknowledge Her in my life. I prayed to God and asked for help and further understanding. The next morning came, and I said another prayer with the same intention.
I went to church with an empty stomach, and a hunger for answers no amount of googling could serve me.
I sat in the pew with my husband and five children and waited patiently to be taught by The Spirit.
I sang hymns, partook of the sacrament, and tried to remember the promises I made to God at baptism while simultaneously disciplining small children with strategic shifts of my eyebrows.
Testimonies of Jesus Christ and travel plans were shared.
Goldfish crackers were dispersed, crumbles finding their way to the depths of a sea blue carpet.
Crayons and Legos fell through the pew cracks, despite our best efforts of lining them with hymn books.
My eleven-year-old twin daughters braved the trek to the podium, and bore simple yet powerful testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I know that I have a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother that love me,” echoed through the microphone.
My eyes widened, and I nudged my husband. “She said Heavenly Mother!” I whispered excitedly, while doing a Napoleon- Dynamite-Yes movement with my right arm. It felt like a parenting “win” in my book.
The closing song was ”I am a Child of God,” the one that has irked me at times because it only references God as “He.”
I went to Primary.
I corralled our offspring into the minivan and began the ride home.
It was there that The Spirit must have felt it had my attention because it began to teach me as the following knowledge filled my heart and mind.
“Your Heavenly Mother is acknowledged, when and because you acknowledge Her.
Your Heavenly Mother is better known, when and because you make Her known to your children in the walls of your own home.
Your Heavenly Mother is more connected to you when and because you reach out to connect with Her.
You are proof of Her existence
You are proof of Her value
You are proof of Her purposes”
I was grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Mother’s existence and divinity doesn’t hinge on songs or scriptures. She has always been there, and acknowledging that truth can simply begin with me.